The Unnamable

Author(s): Samuel Beckett

Fiction - Contemporary

The Unnamable - so named because he knows not who he may be - is from a nameless place. He speaks of previous selves ('all these Murphys, Molloys, and Malones...') as diversions from the need to stop speaking altogether.

For that about which all that can be said is that it exists, the imperative is to go on existing. There is a voice, desperate to go on (longing perhaps to cease but unable to cease) but conscious of the insufficiency of any attempt to go on. Terrified of each full stop and the cessation it threatens, the voice assumes one character after another, each with a ‘story’ or set of circumstances, but these characters and circumstances are quickly abraded and abandoned, unravelled as quickly as they are knitted, insufficient not through their imperfection but because Beckett refuses to let them conceal the essential nature of the fictive act. That which must speak in order to exist must dissemble in order to speak. In ‘successful’ fictions this desperate underlying impersonal subjectivity is obscured by the characters and circumstances it clads itself in and the reader is scintillated by the provisional ‘reality’ of the story, but in his wonderful stuttering attempts to force the mechanisms of fiction to run against their springs and ratchets, Beckett interrogates the workings of the novel and lays bare the usually unexamined assumptions and motivations that underlie the relationship between writer and reader. - Thomas


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New edition of the classic novel, published for the first time by Faber with an introduction by Beckett scholar Steven Connor

Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He was educated at Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1927. His made his poetry debut in 1930 with Whoroscope and followed it with essays and two novels before World War Two. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn't published in English until 1954. Waiting for Godot brought Beckett international fame and firmly established him as a leading figure in the Theatre of the Absurd. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. Beckett continued to write prolifically for radio, TV and the theatre until his death in 1989.

General Fields

  • : 9780571244645
  • : Faber and Faber
  • : Faber and Faber
  • : September 2009
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 14mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 843.914
  • : 176
  • : Samuel Beckett